Back in 2009 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, General Motors unveiled the Cadillac Converj range-extended concept car. Based on the same drivetrain technology which went on to underpin the 2011-2015 Chevrolet Volt, General Motors and its then Vice Chairman Bob Lutz wanted the premium coupe to launch in 2011 as a 2012 model-year production vehicle. Offering fiercely loyal Cadillac customers the high-end premium luxury they craved, while benefiting from an all-electric range of around 37 miles per charge, the Converj was to be a car designed to help Cadillac make the transition towards more sustainable, less gas-guzzling drivetrain options.
Just over a year later, production plans for the Converj were halted with GM stating the car couldn’t have the “amenities and electric range to be compelling to buyers.” Despite this however, the car was reborn just a year later as the Cadillac ELR, a car which GM listed as having a price tag of nearly $76,000 before incentives, despite the fact its drivetrain originated in a $35,000 family hatchback.
While GM may have second-guessed itself on the true marketability of the Cadillac ELR, shedding doubts about the original Converj in the hope that the 2014 Cadillac ELR would become a worthy adversary to the runaway success of the Tesla Model S, reality has been far from kind. Over the past few years we’ve watched as the premium car GM pinned so many hopes on failed to deliver on so many levels as customers baulked at its sub-par performance and hefty price tag.
And now, helped no doubt by sales of just 1024 examples of the ELR in 2015, GM has confirmed the Cadillac ELR will be no more.
As Automotive News (subscription required) reports, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen confirmed late last week that Cadillac won’t be making a second-generation Cadillac ELR, allowing the model to quietly slip off into the night.
Last summer, de Nysschen — known electric car skeptic, former CEO of Audi North America and for a short while, boss at Infiniti — told Automotive News that the while the Cadillac ELR would likely end after just one generation, it would stay on the market for as long as people wanted to buy it, holding out until at least 2018. Now, that seems even less likely as dealers struggle to shift remaining models.
While the Cadillac ELR originally commanded a $75,995 price tag before incentives, its slow initial sales, pretty disastrous sales strategy and early adverts lead GM to begin a series of heavy incentives designed to get people behind the wheel. At first, those incentives came in the form of cash on the hood deals. Then dealer incentives, and eventually, a massive $10,000 price reduction for the 2016 model year car.
At the same time, while GM was readying the second-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt for production, Cadillac engineers tweaked the performance of the ELR’s first-generation Voltec drivetrain, squeezing out more power and a higher top speed. The hope was that the struggling ELR would appear a little more appealing alongside far more expensive cars like the all-electric Tesla Model S, but the ELR’s paltry 40-mile range just couldn’t compete against the Californian automaker and its luxury free-fuel-for-life Model S.
Given our editorial remit is to cover cleaner, greener, safer and smarter cars, we’re always sad to see a plug-in model go out of production. But in the case of the Cadillac ELR we’re really struggling to say anything nice. And with Cadillac due to launch a brand-new plug-in hybrid variant of the CT6 in the near future, we’re not sure anyone will miss it, either.
Do you like the Cadillac ELR? Is it a car you own or would consider owning? Or do you think it’s a model doomed to the history books as an obscure (and one day collectible) also-ran?
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